First consideration in delivering contents is to ensure a steady stream of feedback between the instructor and the student. This new paradigm of active learning in an online education is still very vague to evaluate, comparing it to the face-to-face classroom experience.
The online learning experiences still have to strive with providing active learning in terms of “providing opportunities for students to meaningfully talk and listen, write, read, and reflect on the content, ideas, issues, and concerns of an academic subject” (as defined by Meyers and Jones).
The absence of a teacher standing in front of the classroom, which engage the learner enforcing an experience of an active learning is still hard to grapple with where a student has to ‘stare and glare at the screen: Hence the need for conceptualizing the contents that will active engage the student and enhance a feedback.
A good design means contents must be presented within a system that capture the feedback and measure student leaning activities and engagements can be measured. A good design will consider the following with most benchmarked learning management systems (LMS) make provisions for.
- Student profiling and Polls
- Activities logging systems
- Assessment – tests and quizzes that provide immediate feedback
- Forums, massaging and wikis tools
- Contents display and learning environments
- Demonstrations with questioning (video clips)
- Community building (Peer to Peer tools)
All these above are to ensure a linear relationship between the instructor and the learner. In a Face-to-face environment learning process are linear. Everyone has a shared experience. As Beezley says “The conversation slowly builds, and hopefully moving everyone from one level of understanding to a new level of understanding. In an online environment students participate through a discussion board, which is not linear and not necessarily a shared experience.”
The increasing use of the social media today has increased this shared experience as the norm of most social interaction that’s has enhance global integration across race, countries and learning divides. Most virtual learning environments including LMS have integrated the social media suite into their platform to boost this shared experience.
In our next topic we look at the role of the social media in designing active online learning.